Natural gas production growing in Bakken

Natural gas production in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale play is increasing at a faster rate than oil production, says the Energy Information Administration.

Total North Dakota crude oil production peaked in December 2014, at 1.2 million barrels per day (MMBPD), Kallanish Energy has learned.

It has dropped to 1.07 MMBPD in August 2017.

Despite production declines in 2016, North Dakota remains the second-largest oil-producing state and accounts for 11% of total U.S. crude oil production, EIA said.

But natural gas production continues to grow in North Dakota. It reached a record high of 1.94 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2017.

That is the energy equivalent of roughly 334,000 BPD of crude, according to EIA.

In 2012, North Dakota produced roughly 0.5 Bcf/d of natural gas.

Despite the increasing gas-oil ratio, North Dakota still produces more than three times as much energy from crude oil as from natural gas.

In tight oil formations like the Bakken and Three Forks, the gas-oil ratio tends to increase only gradually over an extended period of time before reaching a certain point at which it increases significantly, EIA said.

As producers extract hydrocarbons, the pressure in the formation eventually falls below the point at which natural gas naturally separates from crude oil, a threshold known as the bubble point, it said.

More oil relative to natural gas tends to be produced during initial production, after which natural gas production can increase once pressure in the formation reaches the bubble point.